Crafted a complete typeface based on the frequency of letters (and my cat).

Over the course of six months I was tasked with designing a typeface from concept to creating a complete digital typeface. I was responsible for completing the word 'Hamburgefonstiv' by hand and then digitizing the rest of the typeface. A final type specimen spread was made that would be combined into a newspaper with the rest of my class. This project was completed for class.

I was tasked with designing a typeface over the course of three months. Staying true to my interests in design, I wanted to design something geometric but not overtly so that I could not take creative freedom. I devised a compromise that used geometric sans-serif typefaces as the primary inspirations but used data analytics to add flourish to less common letters.

I looked at the frequency of letters used in the alphabet to add intrigue to uncommon characters.

The graph below, showcases the twenty-six letters in the alphabet. The y-axis represents frequency of use up to 14% while the x-axis lists each character.

After creating moodboards and researching how typefaces were designed. I started sketching the word Hamburgefonstiv which, once completed, provides a foundation to the majority of characters in the english alphabet.

I started with a few letters that would guide the rest of my work. The word "gothic" contained many of these.
I received various feedback on specific letterforms until I was able to write out the sample word "Hamburgefonstiv."

Once I finished the word, I started exploring various typeface tools and ended up using Fontforge, which is an open source option. My workflow started in Adobe Illustrator where I digitized Hamburgefonstiv. From there, I took parts from the forms to create the rest of the alphabet in both lowercase and uppercase.

I had to find a balance between the detailed designs of lowercase letters and simplistic solutions to capital letters to keep words as legible as possible.
What do the lowercase characters look like?
What do the uppercase characters and punctuation look like?
How does the typeface work when placed in a short paragraph?

When comparing my sketches to my final letterforms, many extra details were removed. While my design brief adds flourishes to less common characters, legibility was directly impacted. I had to compromise by keeping some letters simple despite their infrequency. While this pivoted from the original goal, it served as a compromise that enabled my typeface to be easier to read and accessible.

I wanted to express my typeface by visualizing the data that inspired it.

A minimal layout was created to highlight the type in use at various sizes. Bartology can be used in both smaller and larger applications. There are two data visualizations that show the frequency of individual characters and the nine most frequent character combinations. This typeface is intended for use in print for magazines and books.